Tag Archives: family home

Amazing Outdoor Play Spaces

As the days in June rise up on the calendar and pass all too quickly, schools across this country begin to let out for the summer break. This annual vacation from structure is the carrot at the end of a long stick for most kids growing up. However, those long hot days can be difficult to fill up, and sometimes boredom gets the better of even the most imaginative of children. Outdoor play spaces are a great way to keep your kids occupied in a safe place while allowing you to go about your business. Whether working professionally from home or just moving through summertime projects of your own, these backyard playgrounds keep your kids within close range while their imaginations roam wild.

sunflower house

A Sunflower House makes for a lovely outdoor play space and a magical fort as well.

Sunflower House

Plant a thick circular row of tall sunflower plants to enclose a space that quickly feels like a magical fort. Inside the flower ring can be a sand pit or a small play table and bench to create a quiet thinking place. It also acts as a kind of playpen for smaller children who may find it difficult to wander beyond this floral border.

 

A fun and messy outdoor play space for the little ones.

Use found wood scraps and old kitchen utensils to make up a mud kitchen.

Mud Kitchens

For those that like to get dirty! Stock the mud kitchen with outdated kitchen supplies, or take a spin through your local thrift store for random utensils and mixing bowls that won’t mind getting a little banged up. Old camping kitchen gear works great as well.

 

 

 

 

Raised Garden Beds

Using either wood, re-purposed pallets, or cinder blocks, you can easily fashion a raised bed and fill it with plants and seeds suitable for your gardeners. Stick with fast growing crops like radishes, strawberries, beans and peas, and lettuces that will engage the shorter attention spans of little ones.

Treehouses and Forts

Outdoor Play Spaces

Tree houses make the ultimate outdoor play space.

From simple to elaborate, a tree house or a ground-level fort will keep your kids active and interested for years to come! These adaptable structures can change as your kids get older, and new play spaces can be added with each passing year. Some of our favorite ideas include a pallet rock climbing wall, a rope bridge, and a skateboard swing.

Through all these long days of hot weather and free time, finding ways to engage and occupy your kids is easier than ever. Check out our Outdoor Play Spaces Pinterest page here for more ideas and DIY instructions.

The Well-Stocked Pantry

Every family I know is always trying to find ways to live more frugally and stretch their dollars further. For many people, this begins with identifying waste and superfluous purchases. In terms of the rising cost of food for a family, creating a well-stocked pantry is one of the best and easiest ways to save money in the check-out line.

By focusing on ingredients and food items with a long shelf life, the danger of wasting food that goes bad before it can be eaten is drastically reduced. Here are a few categories of pantry staples to get you started:

Dry Goods:

Dried staples are a great and inexpensive way to save money and keep your pantry well stocked.

Dried staples are a great and inexpensive way to save money and keep your pantry well stocked.

Stock up on things like dry beans, pasta, nuts, popcorn, rice and ancient grains like quinoa. These things benefit from an overnight soaking before cooking, but it is not required especially if you plan on cooking with a slow cooker. With a few minutes’ prep time in the morning you can come home in the evening to a hot pot of chili or soup without making an additional stop at the store.

 

Canned goods:

Canned foods are an easy way to keep your pantry full of easy meal ingredients.

Canned foods are an easy way to keep your pantry full of easy meal ingredients.

Large cans of whole peeled tomatoes, “cream of” soups, evaporated milk, vegetables like green beans and corn, tomato sauce, stock and soup bases, tuna, chili, and peanut butter are some of the major staples that can easily be made into a meal using just what you have on hand.

 

 

Short Cuts: Bouillon cubes, seasoning packets, sauce mixes,

Freezer:

Buy in bulk and freeze extra meat and produce.

Buy in bulk and freeze extra meat and produce.

Depending on how your utility bills add up, many families actually save money by purchasing an additional chest freezer for storing bulk purchases. Food items like frozen meats, berries and other fruits, homemade stock and soup that can be frozen into individual portions, fresh vegetables enjoy a longer life when frozen, jams and jellies, and even casseroles can be made up in large batches and frozen for an easy dinner later on in the week.

In short, planning ahead and maintain a well-stocked pantry can save you hundreds of dollars a year by providing the necessary ingredients for many meals. And by focusing on ingredients rather than buying everything fresh the food waste is significantly reduced simply by lowering the risk of food going bad before it can be eaten.

 

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